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Intentional, purposeful, two-way communication is vital to a successful workday. Daily communication builds resilient relationships and enables a group to accomplish mission-driven tasks with a high degree of safety, quality and effectiveness. Daily toolbox talks and consistent start-up inspections create the environment where both communication and safety coexist successfully.

Daily Toolbox Talks and Start-Up Inspections

Toolbox talks are important to keep safety foremost and engage a crew. Traditionally, toolbox talks were performed monthly and took about 15 minutes. Currently, many companies hold weekly toolbox talks that are seven to 10 minutes in length.

But new data shows the effectiveness of daily toolbox talks, which are trending among contractors. Some companies accomplish this through the use of apps that include a short 90- to 180-second video followed by a three-question quiz. At the end, the supervisors add any company-specific policies or answer questions.

Another best practice is to include a start-up inspection at the beginning of the day. This inspection includes PPE, tools, equipment and ensuring all necessary materials are available and ready for use. If a material (like a gasket or fitting) or tool is missing, corrective action or a change of plans can be made early to prevent any safety issues.

Task-Specific Safety Processes

The ABC STEP Safety Management System is designed to help you strengthen safety culture through several methods. Its task-specific safety process comes in many forms—Activity Hazard Analysis, Job Safety Analysis, Pre-Task-Plan and a dozen more.

All have at least a three-column, delineated plan of action. The first column is usually a list of several small steps, and the next identifies the hazard(s) associated with each step. The last column documents the action taken to prevent the hazard(s) from injuring people. 

While these analyses and plans are designed to be updated daily, if conditions change, the plan will need to be adjusted more frequently. In the distant past, these documents were written by a safety professional and shared with a crew. Now, many crews have outlines or an app and complete the process together, giving everyone a voice in shaping the workday and a role to fulfill in terms of safety.

Communication Builds Trust

Meaningful conversations, group input and a daily learning moment do more than keep the team safe. When utilized properly, these actions build interdependent relationships, incorporating connectivity, belonging and a sense of common purpose, which ultimately drive a stronger safety culture.

Looking for help building your safety program?

Discover resources available through ABC’s STEP Safety Management System and other health and safety topics at

For more information or assistance, please reach out to Joe Xavier or Aaron Braun.